So I think the last couple days were a combination of being energized by being in a new place and consciousness largely fueled by coffee. After having a day or two in one place and far calmer than the previous, my body finally succumbed to the jet lag of being 7 hours off my normal timezone.
So last night, I went to bed at 11:00pm, then was wide awake from 1:00am on - I didn't get back to sleep until about 7:00am (by the way, the docuseries "Pandemic" on Netflix is great).
After sleeping until about 10:30, I dragged myself out of bed, made some coffee, eggs, and bacon (btw, brown eggs taste the same as white eggs, despite being less than half the price), then took a short walk around the neighborhood.
After completing my grocery shopping adventure yesterday, I made it out to one of the many malls in town. I didn't get any photos of them (yet?) - but what impressed me most is that they far surpassed the size of many American malls.
On the way to one of the malls, I passed a stadium that apparently was abandoned during construction. It's quite unusual to see just the skeleton of a stadium, with so many of the main components missing.
After arriving to Vilnius at the end of Day 2, my coworker (who has lived in the city for quite some time) took me out to dinner to show me the hospitality of the town.
Needless to say, Day 3 started, well, slow...
Once I got up and rolling, the biggest relief was not needing to be on the run to catch planes, trains, automobiles, or other forms of transportation. I finally have a comfortably long stay in one place.
As one does the first morning in a European town - I looked up the nearest bakery for breakfast: Crustum. It did not disappoint. A little breakfast sandwich, a pastry for dessert, and an Americano to get things rolling.
After finishing my breakfast, I set out on my task list: explore the town a bit, look for a new winter coat, and grocery shopping.
My AirBnB for my stay is in the Old Town, which is beautiful. The old architecture, winding cobblestone streets, and palpable sense of history are always one of the most invigorating parts of the trips I've taken to Europe over the past two years. Vilnius didn't fall short of the other cities I've been to.
As I started to walk around, I passed a field trip in the works...
So, after two full days of travel (roughly - it depends how you want to count it - but it was 11:00 at night where I was when I stopped traveling) - I finally made it to Kaliningrad. In the airport, the baggage claim was an advertisement for a casino, which also doubled as a convenient way to spot where your own bag was located on the belt:
So after a long travel day(and a half), I’ve made it to Russia.
Columbia to Charlotte
Charlotte to London (overnight)
A nice, exhilarating early morning run through Heathrow to make my connection, to fly to Moscow.
At the first Moscow airport, I had to go through passport control and customs, get my suitcase - brush my teeth and change clothes - then get in an Uber (well, here, Yandex.Taxi) to travel across Moscow to the other airport.
The trip around Moscow (on their beltway) really looked at lot like any big city in the northeast - New York, Baltimore, etc. A fair amount of trees. Gas stations every couple miles. Lots of retail. The malls here make Texas look like tiny, podunk shopettes.
Made it to the second airport 3 hours early. I wasn’t sure what to expect with checking into my flight and handling security.
Step 1: they scan everybody at the front door
Step 2: checked in to my flight. Found an agent who spoke English and she took care of me.
So, in about a week and change, I’ll be leaving on a six week trip based mostly in Russia-ish.
I’ll be heading to the town of Kaliningrad, on the Baltic Sea. While it is a Russian State, the town and state of Kaliningrad isn’t connected to Mother Russia - there’s countries like Belarus and Ukraine between Kaliningrad and the rest of Russia.
Not a ton more to say just now - merely kicking the blog off. I’ll attempt to post photos and other updates along the way!